Growth mindset. Perseverance. Stamina. #Wecandohardthings
How do we encourage writers, especially young writers, to persist, push-on, wait, reflect, and preserve when they come up against writing roadblocks?
1) Model, model, model. As you’re thinking aloud, writing in front of your students, struggle. Get stuck. Show them this is a natural part of writing (like daily). Don’t plan ahead too much for your modeled writing so the struggle comes up naturally. Turn to students and ask for help. “We’re all writers and we all have something to offer. I’m stuck (explain…) Who has an idea I might use here?” You may be surprised by what students come up with (I have been many, many times).
2) Celebrate student-struggle. “You’re stuck? Of course you are, writer! It happens to all of us! Can we share your work under the document camera and invite help? Can you meet with a small group to get response and assistance? Can we trouble-shoot for strategies by looking at past pieces of modeled writing?” Whatever the path, hold a public conference with this student at the end of writing time that day. If the student is willing, have him share what he did to overcome the difficulty. Celebrate BIG TIME. We can all learn from one another, especially when we struggle and we’re still able to write right through it (even if that doesn't happen immediately).
2b) As you peruse student writing, look for examples of revision, reworking, rethinking, reflection, problem solving. Again, use the document camera to highlight examples and share strategies. Our own students are the most powerful mentors for each other.
On that note, here’s a peek at Stella thinking critically about her conclusion in Stella Writes An Opinion. She’s stuck. Yes, in the end, she preservers very nicely. What strategies does she use to get there?